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From Hoogvliet to Capelle aan den Ijssel, 39 professors from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) participated in the first ever Meet the Professor event at the end of May 2024. Organised by EUR’s Science Hub as part of the celebrations of the school’s 110th anniversary and 22nd lustrum, this event enabled the professors to engage with around 1,500 children from groups 6, 7 and 8 at 43 primary schools in and around Rotterdam. Participating from RSM were Professors Daan Stam, Erik van Raaij and Pursey Heugens. This is Prof. Stam’s brief account of the day.

Daan Stam, professor of innovation management and dean of faculty at RSM, enjoyed talking with the school children about being a professor and about research and its importance in the world today. “Even though we were split up into different classrooms and schools, I was joined on the day by my fellow RSM professors Erik van Raaij, professor of purchasing and supply management in healthcare, and Pursey Heugens, professor of organisation theory, development and change.” Prof. Stam continues, “Young people need to understand what research entails and how much fun it can be. Who knows, this event might have even stimulated some children to see research as a potential career choice.”

Keeping it real

“In preparation for the event, the kids had already had six lessons about research. The final lesson was me showing my tam (cap), gown and hood. Later in the lesson, I took off the ‘professor attire’ and revealed that I was actually wearing street clothes, to show the kids that professors are regular people underneath it all.”

Prof. Stam gave an interactive lecture about creativity during his school visits, and answered the question: what makes people creative? Additionally, he and the children did an experiment, which started with a short quiz. “The quiz was about our university and had questions like: which person was the university in Rotterdam named after? How often does a professor wear robes? How many students sat in my last lecture?” Laughs Stam, “You should have seen their faces when I told them there are sometimes 800 students in my class.” At the end of the quiz, Prof. Stam made it clear that the winning group had won eternal bragging rights.

Best part of the day

“I enjoy lecturing,” tells Prof. Stam, “but talking with those young students was really great. Entering the school in my tam, gown and hood was an interesting experience; dozens of kids ran up to me like I was Sinterklaas!”

Recalling the event, Prof. Stam talks about some unusual interactions: “An event like this is one of the most fun things you can do as a professor. You get the wildest questions: do you like gaming? What’s your pin code? How old are you? How smart are you? I took it all in stride and tried my best to answer the kids’ questions. Well, except for the one about the pin code,” he smirks.

A sustainable outing

An interesting fact about the event: all 39 professors who participated cycled from the EUR’s Woudestein campus to their assigned primary school destinations and back again. Says Prof. Stam, “We wanted to be sustainable. And cycling also created more visibility for us and for EUR. Professors riding through the city in full regalia was a pretty entertaining sight.”

All in all, this first Meet the Professor event was a success for the RSM and EUR professors as well as for the primary school children. When asked whether he would participate again in this kind of event, Prof. Stam cracks a wide grin and says, “Absolutely!”

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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